James W. Janetka, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Lab Website
Publications (PubMed / NIH)

Office: 2614 Cancer Research
Phone: 314-362-0509
Email: janetkaj@wustl.edu


The Janetka research group is studying therapeutic targets and cellular mechanisms in cancer and infectious disease. The overall focus of the lab is to interfere with key biological processes outside the cell, by inhibiting one or more key proteins, which are important in bacterial pathogenesis or tumor progression. We employ rational structure-based drug design and synthetic medicinal chemistry to develop peptide-based and small molecule inhibitors as chemical tools to help decipher mechanisms of disease. In one project we are developing glycoside-based antagonists of adhesins, such as FimH, FmlD, and PapG, in E. coli., which are essential for host-bacteria interactions in UTI. In another project, we are developing peptide-based and small molecule inhibitors of serine proteases, including HGFA, matriptase and hepsin, which post-translationally process the growth factor ligands of c-MET and RON receptor tyrosine kinases, both important in tumor progression and metastatic cancer. The long-term goal of our research is to identify preclinical candidate drugs as new and innovative medicines for treating patients with resistant infections and cancer.

jim janetka lab pic

Select Patents

Compounds and methods for treating bacterial infections (US Patent # 20180194792)

Inhibitors of growth factor activation enzymes (US Patent # 20180066015)

Select Books

Extracellular Targeting of Cell Signaling in Cancer: Strategies Directed at MET and RON Receptor Tyrosine Kinase PathwaysExtracellular Targeting of Cell Signaling in Cancer: Strategies Directed at MET and RON Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Pathways, available from the publisher (Wiley), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores.


Select Publications

James W Janetka, Allen T Hopper, Ziping Yang, Jennifer Barks, Mary Savari Dhason, Qiuling Wang, & L David Sibley (2020). “Optimizing Pyrazolopyrimidine Inhibitors of Calcium Dependent Protein Kinase 1 for Treatment of Acute and Chronic Toxoplasmosis” J Med Chem. 2020 May 18. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.0c00419. Online ahead of print. (Abstract)

Yang B., Hird A.W., Bodnarchuk M.S., Zheng X., Dakin L., Su Q., Daly K., Godin R., Hattersley M.M., Brassil P., Redmond S., John Russell D., & Janetka J.W. (2020). “Heteroarylamide smoothened inhibitors: Discovery of N-[2,4-dimethyl-5-(1-methylimidazol-4-yl)phenyl]-4-(2-pyridylmethoxy)benzamide (AZD8542) and N-[5-(1H-imidazol-2-yl)-2,4-dimethyl-phenyl]-4-(2- pyridylmethoxy)benzamide (AZD7254).” Bioorg Med Chem. 2020 Jan 15;28(2):115227. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2019.115227. Epub 2019 Dec 11. (Abstract)

Vishnu C. Damalanka, Scott A. Wildman, & James W. Janetka (2019). “Piperidine carbamate peptidomimetic inhibitors of the serine proteases HGFA, matriptase and hepsin” MedChemComm. 18 Jul 2019, doi: 10.1039/C9MD00234K (Abstract)

Tyagi R., Elfawal M.A., Wildman S.A., Helander J., Bulman C.A., Sakanari J., Rosa B.A., Brindley P.J., Janetka J.W., Aroian R.V., & Mitreva M. (2019). “Identification of small molecule enzyme inhibitors as broad-spectrum anthelmintics.” Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 24;9(1):9085. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45548-7. (Abstract)

Damalanka V.C. & Janetka J.W. (2019). “Recent progress on inhibitors of the type II transmembrane serine proteases, hepsin, matriptase and matriptase-2.” Future Med Chem. 2019 Apr 4. doi: 10.4155/fmc-2018-0446. [Epub ahead of print] (Abstract)

Maddirala A., Klein R.D., Pinkner J., Kalas V., Hultgren S.J., & Janetka J.W. (2019). “Biphenyl Gal and GalNAc FmlH Lectin Antagonists of Uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC): Optimization through iterative rational drug design.” J Med Chem. 2019 Jan 24;62(2):467-479. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b01561. Epub 2019 Jan 2. (Abstract)

Damalanka V.C., Han Z., Karmakar P., O’Donoghue A.J., La Greca F., Kim T., Pant S., Helander J., Klefstr√∂m J., Craik C.S., & Janetka J.W. (2019). “Discovery of Selective Matriptase and Hepsin Serine Protease Inhibitors: Useful Chemical Tools for Cancer Cell Biology.” J Med Chem. 2019 Jan 24;62(2):480-490. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b01536. Epub 2019 Jan 4. (Abstract)

Kawaguchi M., Yamamoto K., Takeda N., Fukushima T., Yamashita F., Sato K., Kitamura K., Hippo Y., Janetka J.W., & Kataoka H. (2019). “Hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor-2 stabilizes Epcam and maintains epithelial organization in the mouse intestine.” Commun Biol. 2019 Jan 4;2:11. doi: 10.1038/s42003-018-0255-8. eCollection 2019. (Abstract)

Tyagi R., Maddirala A.R., Elfawal M., Fischer C., Bulman C.A., Rosa B.A., Gao X., Chugani R., Zhou M., Helander J., Brindley P.J., Tseng C.C., Greig I.R., Sakanari J., Wildman S.A., Aroian R., Janetka J.W., & Mitreva M. (2018). “Small Molecule Inhibitors of Metabolic Enzymes Repurposed as a New Class of Anthelmintics.” ACS Infect Dis. 2018 Jul 13;4(7):1130-1145. doi: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.8b00090. Epub 2018 May 14. (Abstract)

Rocha A.G., Franco A., Krezel A.M., Rumsey J.M., Alberti J.M., Knight W.C., Biris N., Zacharioudakis E., Janetka J.W., Baloh R.H., Kitsis R.N., Mochly-Rosen D., Townsend R.R., Gavathiotis E., & Dorn G.W. 2nd (2018). “MFN2 agonists reverse mitochondrial defects in preclinical models of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A.” Science. 2018 Apr 20;360(6386):336-341. doi: 10.1126/science.aao1785. (Abstract)

Kalas V., Hibbing M.E., Maddirala A.R., Chugani R., Pinkner J.S., Mydock-McGrane L.K., Conover M.S., Janetka J.W., & Hultgren S.J. (2018). “Structure-based discovery of glycomimetic FmlH ligands as inhibitors of bacterial adhesion during urinary tract infection.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Mar 5. pii: 201720140. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1720140115. (Abstract)

James W. Janetka & Roseann M. Benson (2018). “Extracellular Targeting of Cell Signaling in Cancer: Strategies Directed at MET and RON Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Pathways” ISBN-13: 978-1119300182, ISBN-10: 1119300185 (Publisher)

Spaulding C.N., Klein R.D., Schreiber H.L. 4th, Janetka J.W., & Hultgren S.J. (2018). “Precision antimicrobial therapeutics: the path of least resistance?” NPJ Biofilms Microbiomes. 2018 Feb 27;4:4. doi: 10.1038/s41522-018-0048-3. eCollection 2018. (Abstract)

Yang B., Vasbinder M., Hird A.W., Su Q., Wang H., Yu Y., Toader D., Lyne P.D., Read J.A., Breed J., Ioannidis S., Deng C., Grondine M., DeGrace N., Whitston D., Brassil P., & Janetka J.W. (2018). “Adventures in Scaffold Morphing: Discovery of Fused Ring Heterocyclic Checkpoint Kinase 1 (CHK1) Inhibitors.” J Med Chem. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.7b01490. (Abstract)

Rutaganira F.U., Barks J., Dhason M.S., Wang Q., Lopez M.S., Long S., Radke J.B., Jones N.G., Maddirala A.R., Janetka J.W., El Bakkouri M., Hui R., Shokat K.M., & Sibley L.D. (2017). “Inhibition of calcium dependent protein kinase 1 (CDPK1) by pyrazolopyrimidine analogs decreases establishment and reoccurrence of central nervous system disease by Toxoplasma gondii.” J Med Chem. 2017 Dec 28;60(24):9976-9989. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.7b01192. Epub 2017 Oct 9. (Abstract)